Grand Egyptian Museum ambitions get grander

02 July 2004
The Culture Ministry has delayed the tendering process for the project management consultancy (PMC) contract on the Grand Egyptian Museum project, pending the launch in late July of a major fund-raising programme by the Ministry of International Co-operation - a subdivision of the Foreign Affairs Ministry - and the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Five international companies have been shortlisted for the PMC contract on the basis of technical proposals submitted in November 2003. Commercial bids, which were originally due to be opened in 31 May, are now expected to be reviewed in the third quarter. The shortlisted companies are Hill International, Fluor Daniel Internationaland Turner International, all of the US, Australia's Bovis Lend Leaseand the UK's Mace International. The successful bidder will be required to draw up tenders for the main construction and technical consultancy packages for the complex (MEED 28:5:04).

On the basis of a feasibility study conducted by the technical committee in charge of the scheme, total project costs have been revised upwards to $550 million from an original estimate of $350 million. The committee is now preparing separate tender documents for three of the smaller components of the scheme, including a dedicated power plant, a conservation laboratory and an archaeological restoration centre. The design team, led by Dublin-based Heneghan Peng Architectsand including representatives of UK engineering firms Ove Arup & Partnersand Buro Happold, submitted in mid-June schematic designs for the 38,000-square-metre exhibition building, which will be built close to the Great Pyramids in Giza.

The government has already allocated $100 million of funds towards the project. The remaining costs are expected to be met by $300 million of loans from foreign governments, funds and commercial banks, and a further $150 million of direct donations. 'At the moment we are in the last stages of setting up an international committee to co-ordinate the fund-raising effort,' says a senior government official close to the project. 'We have also started to target donors directly. One of our development strategies, which we expect to launch in the next few weeks, is to divide the museum into different areas - the education centre, the lobby, the galleries - which can be dedicated to individual donors.' Other fund-raising initiatives under discussion include a regional telethon.

The government is also financing the construction of the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation, to be built near the Citadel in central Cairo. A £E317 million ($51.2 million) contract for civil works was awarded to the local Hassam Allam Sons (Misr Sons Development)in mid-June. The Culture Ministry is finalising details of the larger finishing works package, and is preparing a study for the restoration of the existing National Museum in downtown Cairo.

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